Speaking to NHL Network from the GM meetings in Florida, Rangers GM Jeff Gorton said Wednesday that left wing Chris Kreider, who suffered a broken left ankle blocking a shot in a loss to the Flyers in Philadelphia on Friday, will likely be out 4-6 weeks.
“We’re obviously hopeful sooner than later,’’ Gorton said. “But I think with these things, it’s weight-bearing when you break your foot. I think if you look over time, some of the people who have had the same type of injury, you’re looking at 4-6 weeks as probably realistic.’’
The timetable means there is a chance Kreider, who signed a seven-year, $45.5 million contract extension on Feb. 24, hours before the trade deadline, will miss the remainder of the regular season, which ends April 4. That would be five weeks from the injury date.
Kreider is rehabbing and trying to shorten the timeline for his return. Coach David Quinn, when asked Monday when Kreider might return, had quipped, “He thinks he’s going to come back next week, so, we’ll see.’’
Kreider’s left foot is in a protective boot, Quinn said, and the coach said how quickly Kreider returns will simply be based on how quickly he heals.
“I know that Chris is looking at it as if he is going to be back sooner,’’ Gorton told NHL Network. “If you see what kind of condition he is in, his work ethic, it’s hard to bet against him. So, hopefully, sooner than that, and we’ll take one game at a time without him.’’
Without Kreider, who has 24 goals and 21 assists in 63 games this season, the Rangers are 0-2. Plus, they lost the game in which he was injured. The Rangers were leading 1-0 against the Flyers when a shot by Philadelphia defenseman Phillipe Myers hit Kreider in the left skate with a little more than seven minutes remaining in the first period.
Kreider hobbled to the bench and tried to come back on his next shift, but could not. He left the game at that point and the Rangers went on to lose, 5-2.
They also lost, 5-2, in a rematch with the Flyers at the Garden on Sunday afternoon, and lost, 2-1, Tuesday to the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.
The Rangers (35-27-4) are four points out of a playoff spot with 16 games remaining. They host the Capitals on Thursday night.